IN MUSIC, if you find someone you work well with – keeping doing it.

Collaboration can be the key to success and having a trusted soldier alongside can make an artist's work that much stronger.

Stevie McCrorie and Barry McIntosh first linked-up more than a decade ago and have retained a working relationship and friendship since then. Both have spent their adult lives working in the music industry, both became fathers at the same time and now both live in the same area of Alva.

McIntosh – who goes by the moniker of MOPP – is an avid producer, mixer and composer, while McCrorie is a singer-songwriter. The duo each bring their strengths and have carved out a symbiosis that has served them well in the past.

Indeed, they have a handful of collaborations already to their name: A Day Needs More Love from 2009, as well as Taking Me Higher and Everything, both from 2010. They even picked up industry recognition from the BBC, before playing a number of festival dates.

Their paths diverged a few years ago as McCrorie worked on solo material and won The Voice. But there was always an inclination to rekindle their previous working relationship.
"It's always been a fruitful partnership when we've had the time to focus on it..." 

McIntosh tells The Weekender: "Myself and Stevie first properly met when we were about 21. We had seen each other around in bands on the local music scene in our late teens but never really got to chatting until I joined his band City playing bass.

"We have always worked well together; both have a strong sense of what we want to hear when creating. Which seems to have been a winning formula for us in the past."

McCrorie adds: "We've been friends for about 13 years now – we clicked musically, and our friendship was solidified through that. We went on to develop a music project together in around 2009 and wrote some stuff together.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Stevie and Barry performing during Stevie's show at Alloa Town Hall. Picture by Fiona ReadStevie and Barry performing during Stevie's show at Alloa Town Hall. Picture by Fiona Read

"We were on BBC introducing and played the BBC Big Weekend in 2011 and T in the Park – so it did really well. In 2012, we both had our little girls so the project sort of fell away, but we still had a few ideas from before."

Recently, McIntosh had been thumbing through some old recordings and stumbled across a track then caught his ear. Six years ago, he and McCrorie had laid down the bones of a song – Come Alive.

On paper, it is a mashing of styles – McIntosh with a penchant upbeat dance and McCrorie bringing a raspy voice more common to rock – but it works. The harsh is softened and the smooth is pointed.

McCrorie says: "I've always written for rootsy or rock stuff, but it's good to experiment with other genres and put my own spin on it. I think my voice is a little bit more raw than you hear from other folk singing on a dance track, so it adds something a bit different. But it doesn't feel unnatural to me either – it's refreshing."

Come Alive – which comes with a music video shot in Culross – may well be a precursor to further releases from the duo at some point in the future.

"It's always been a fruitful partnership when we've had the time to focus on it," McIntosh adds. "This track [Come Alive] was written and recorded at the very end of 2012 and we sat on it for a while as we had both just started families. Then Stevie auditioned for the voice UK in 2014 which didn't leave him much time for collaborations.

"I've recently started working on tracks I still have in my archives that I meant to release properly years ago. So, I am now just starting to find some time to do that properly.

"I've been involved in a few different bands over the years playing different instruments but composing, mixing, and production is mainly where my passion lies.

"MOPP has always been my main music project but I started a family back in 2011 and took a break from it and kept working on my production skills and helping with other people's projects when I had some spare time.

"We [Stevie and I] did touch on the subject of an EP or record of some kind last time we were out on a night out together. I love to work with great vocalists so there definitely is a possibility there."

Come Alive by MOPP (feat Stevie McCrorie) is available on Spotify now, with a music video streaming on YouTube.